During my eight years as the editor of Families magazine, I’ve been approached by hundreds of people, who want publicity for their business, new product or venture. Here are my ten top tips on getting noticed in the press.
1. Content is king
Think about the publication you are approaching. Are they a commercial business? If they make their money solely from adverts they will want you to buy some advertising. But remember they also need content, so make that sure you approach them with a good story angle or something new. Pitch a feature that will interest their readers. If they are a newspaper they will have a separate newsdesk that will be looking for interesting local stories.
2. Do your research
Find out the relevant name of the person you want to speak to. Don’t approach a publication with a product or service that doesn’t fit with their audience. Follow up your email with a phone call. Being polite and friendly goes a long way…
3. Look at the style of the publication
If they run long features suggest some ideas and send an example. If they do shorter news items, make sure your press release is short.
4. Make it easy for them
Provide hi-res logos and accompanying images via Dropbox, or a google drive link. Write coherent press releases with a top line that is newsworthy and relevant to their publication. Do quotes they can pull out and use.
5. Offer to write a useful feature.
Make it about your area of expertise rather than an advertorial. But do ask for your website and services to get a mention at the bottom of the article.
6. Be helpful
If they ask for something in addition to what you have sent them be prompt in sending it back or you may miss their deadline.
7. Don’t get disheartened
Don’t worry if your feature gets dropped, it may get used at a later date.
8. Online articles
If you are approaching a website, make sure your feature is no longer than 500 words. Websites love a ‘listicle’: 5 ways to make your Christmas shopping easier; 10 ways to get back in shape; 5 Nutri-bullet recipes that actually taste nice. Again provide pictures at a resolution suitable for online via dropbox or a link.
9. Have a marketing budget
When you are a small business do make sure you have a budget for advertising and spend it. Many think they can rely on free publicity for their marketing; a publication or newspaper is only likely to write a feature about you once.
10. Stay focussed on your key message
Be resilient, approachable and passionate and the rest should follow.
Claire has been a journalist for 16 years and she was also the editor of Families magazine for eight years. She has helped hundreds of small and large businesses market their businesses in print, online and across social media channels. If you need help with marketing or content for your website, a blog or a press release written, then get in touch.